On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body… 1 Corinthians 12:22-24

Paul begins this chapter by saying he does not want us to be ignorant about spiritual gifts and then moves on to talk about the Body of Christ. By beginning with spiritual gifts Paul is pointing out that we all have at least one gift and therefore a part to play. Then Paul uses the analogy of the Body which teaches us that while everyone has a part to play not everyone gets the same attention. Some roles are more public or more “presentable” and get noticed, while others perform roles that are rarely seen.

In the Message, Eugene Peterson makes the observation, “You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach.” So just because someone plays a background role it doesn’t mean it is not important. Yet even if God asks us to play a role that never gets any attention, we know God notices. For we have a “Father, who sees what is done in secret” and he will reward us (Matthew 6:6).

Paul points out that it is God who “has combined the members of the body” and the way God puts together a team is not the way we would. The 12 disciples were an odd group of people to bring together – uneducated fishermen, political activists, and a Roman collaborator. Nevertheless we honour God when we have “equal concern for each other” (v.25) and commit to working together as the Body of Christ.